Very recently I have developed a keen interest in the “ink” side of the fountain pen hobby versus the pen side. The Japan store exclusive inks in particular such as the wonderful Kobe Nagasawa ink line. Up until now my ink choices have tended toward the safe European brands such as Montblanc, which sadly don’t offer much in the way of sheen, though do often produce nice shading. My new interest in Sailor inks has seen me build up a small collection of Sailor Pro Gear fountain pens. The Sailor Pro Gear Slim in particular. When you have a million new inks to try, the cartridge converter filling system of the Pro Gear is very welcome.
Although I have had a Sailor King of Pen Demo for a few years now I have never considered the other models such as the Pro Gear Standard, Slim, Mini, or even other Sailor lines such as the Realo, 1911 or Profit. The flat ends of the Pro Gear with its anchor finial is much more preferable to me than the torpedo 1911 or Profit models. Sailor Pro Gear’s fall into 3 distinct categories, with pricing given accordingly. The pricing usually holds irrespective of whether it is a shop-exclusive or part of their standard production line. The Pro Gear King of Pen is normally around $800-$900, the Pro Gear Standard around $300 and the Pro Gear Slims around $150-$250. Thankfully (for my wallet) the size of the Pro Gear slim isn’t too small…so I can potentially collect them all (uh oh!).
The Nagasawa Kobe line of inks utilise the flat mason jar, which thankfully isn’t a problem if your filling them using Sailor Fountain Pens as they fill from the breather hole (unlike Western fountain pens where you have to dunk the whole nib and part of the section in!). I’ll be honest, these flat jars are a pain when using my Omas, Danitrio even Pilot 823….but to be fair they are designed to be used with Sailor fountain pens. So I decided to go all in with their proprietary system and buy some Sailor fountain pens. I’m starting to build quite a collection. Luckily their nibs are awesome, with just a hint of feedback which is EXACTLY how I like my nibs. I HATE overly smooth nibs, they make my handwriting look out of control.
I originally bought the Sailor Pro Gear Slim (properly called the Nagasawa “beside”) Tarumi Apricot with H-F (Hard-Fine) nib. I had been eyeing this one for quite some time. You can see the Kobe Tarumi Apricot ink in the crappy picture of the ink pot and pen under the nib. As you can probably tell the inspiration for the Nagasawa Kobe Pro Gear slim is taken from their ink line. I believe they also do this with their Pro Colour 500 line, some featuring the latest 60+ colours.
I then caved and bought the Gokuen Toshi Fresh Green also with H-F nib, pictured here with a writing sample using ink of the same name;
…and then I couldn’t resist getting the other two Suma Rikkyu-Rose H-M nib and Rokko Island Sky H-EF nib.
I think I might like Suma Rikyu-Rose and Rokko Island Sky the best, for the nibs as much as the colours. The EF nib is wickedly smooth with a generous flow- much nicer than the H-F and H-MF. The H-M nib is just glorious, gliding smoothly across my Hobonichi planner. I have it inked up with a sample of the Suma Rikyu Rose which has some lovely shading and complexity to it. Especially on Hobonichi TR paper and glides across juicy with just a touch of Sailor feedback to keep your writing under control. I don’t normally like pink inks or pink things but both ink and pen here are winners;
I should also mention all the Kobe Nagasawa Pro Gear Slim fountain pens have a shimmer to them. Which make them even more special. I believe Kobe Nagasawa do this with a number of their store- exclusive pens, including the aforementioned ProColour 500. I guess I’ll have to check those out too.
Here are the writing samples on Rhodia grid pad;
All in all very neat little pens at a neat little price- especially given your getting a 14ct gold nib tuned to perfection with a generous flow. Although I can use the pen un-posted I find its much more comfortable posted, and probably a must for most. The only other slight negative is the minuscule ink capacity in the converter. Luckily I bought about 50 Kobe ink samples so I’m glad of the opportunity to switch out the inks regularly.
I really like the colours of these Nagasawa “beside” fountain pens, though I know they will be too bright bordering on the intolerable for some. I much prefer them to the demonstrator PG Slim’s that can be found in the standard Sailor line. They really are bright happy addition to my otherwise quite serious fountain pen collection.
Here are some bonus shots-
Just one more…
I didn’t think it worth doing a separate review for essentially the same pen. So here is the Kingdom Note store exclusive Kintoki Carrot which can you believe it has a carrot etched onto the 14ct gold nib! Unfortunately there is no matching carrot finial. Or any shimmer. However it does sport an elegantly mis-matched cap and barrel, and the Sailor anchor looks very distinguished as always. It sports a H-MF nib. Here it is;
Check out that nib!
One last group shot;